The Bigger Picture with Robby Takac from the Goo Goo Dolls

InterviewAugust 17, 2022Folio Weekly

When Robby Takac was a kid, he would watch a sitcom that opened with a shot of the Tyler Davidson Fountain in Cincinnati, Ohio. He thought it was cool the way the water comes out of the statue’s hands and now, years later, he stares out at it from his hotel room as he prepares for a concert in front of thousands of fans as he tells me about their recent journey with their upcoming album Chaos In Bloom.

Takac, a founding member of the rock band Goo Goo Dolls, formed the band with John Rzeznik in Buffalo, New York back in 1986. From there the band picked up worldwide fame connecting to millions of fans through their music with songs like Iris and Better Days. They gained national recognition with multiple GRAMMY nominations, gold and platinum singles, and secured their spot in music history with the all-time radio record for Most Top 10 Singles.

Now that touring is back in the equation for the Goo Goo Dolls, Takac takes a moment to remind me how amazing it feels to be back on stage playing for thousands of people “smashed into a room” enjoying the music after two years of delayed tour dates, however spending an entire summer with his daughter was a happy and welcoming solution. They grew tomatoes, cucumbers, and fed rabbits and squirrels, something he appreciates as a “crazy byproduct, you know, of this reset we just lived through.”

Takac recalls having to teach his daughter while isolated. “Can you imagine having me for your teacher,” he asks laughing. Frankly, the thought of a purple haired Robby Takac teaching me American History sounds like a great class, but I doubt he’d prefer talking to kids about early America instead of performing with rock legends all over the world, unless it’s his daughter, of course. He took the opportunity to build his relationships with those around him as they were thrust into a time nobody knew how to handle at the moment. It was that situation that led to the title of the album, says Robby.

“Some horrible and amazing things were brought to light in this whole thing and I think it’s good to recognize both those things,” says Takac.

During their forced hiatus, Takac and Rzeznik took time to travel to Woodstock, NY to produce their album Chaos In Bloom. They were able to take advantage the quiet space, rather than surrounded by large numbers of people that have stakes and opinions on what they are releasing and want to help during the process. While he appreciates the help they always get, it was nice for them to enjoy a “place that was just us, just the band and a couple engineers, the lady that worked at the dinner on the corner and the FedEx guy. Other than some deer and railroad tracks near them they were quite isolated in the mid-1800s church they stayed in. They stayed in the rectory at the bottom of the hill and would spend their days coming up with new music for their album in the church-turned-studio. “It oddly made for a pretty pure record for us,” says Takac.  Something that might not have happened if the pandemic wasn’t ongoing.

The record seems to follow that theme of a sense of unity among the disaster everyone faced together. Everyone felt some type of way about what they experienced and this record allows us all to relate to it in one way or the other. Each song, and its title, seem to imply our need to cherish those relationships we have with everyone around us. Rzeznik sees the album as a description of “where we’ve been and where we’re going,” and Takac agrees emphasizing “the bigger picture.”

In today’s generation, we are obsessed with the newly released songs we all hear on social media. Don’t deny it, I do it too. We listen over and over again as we watch people dance, sing and laugh to them online. It was with this thought, that Takac and Rzeznik came up with their idea for their recently released music video for Yeah, I Like You. Once released people watched as the band attended a red carpet which seemed to be overflowing with social media stars who were quick to fame. It was clear it wasn’t exactly their crowd as the media obsessed individuals basically started a riot, throwing things and hands at attendees and the band, while paparazzi made sure to get it all on camera. It came to light near the end, this was all set up by one person, an implication that people are very easily influenced by those behind the technology. It was a cheesy and hilarious music video that brought the attention of the generations of people who listen.

The Goo Goo Dolls took their old style merged with a new one with the release of this album. As they continue their American Tour for the next few months, attendees will experience the guitar and vocals that put this band on the map live. On the 24th of August, the Goo Goo Dolls will play at Daily’s Place Amphitheater. Whether you’re attending or not, Takac encourages everyone to listen to the whole album…take the trip with him and Rzeznik. If you like the Goo Goo Dolls and charities, make sure to follow along on their support with the Joe Torre Foundation Safe At Home Foundation as they give away some their personal items, like guitars, to raise money in an effort to rid the world of domestic violence.